When most people think of yachts, they think of multimillion-dollar vessels reserved for only the richest of individuals. However, there’s a wide variety of different yachts available, ranging in size, price, and style. If you plan correctly, you can greatly reduce the total costs of owning a yacht—and make one of these luxury vessels more affordable.
Understand the Costs of Owning a Yacht
First, you should understand the true costs of owning a yacht. You’ll pay for the vessel upfront, often using a loan to pay off the balance. But the core cost of the boat doesn’t cover the peripheral costs of yacht ownership.
- Delivery and transportation. How are you going to get the vessel to your intended destination?
- Maintenance and repairs. Regular upkeep is a must if you want to keep running smoothly.
- Chances are, insurance isn’t just a recommendation—it’s a requirement.
- Docking/marina fees. Docks and marinas will charge you a monthly fee for ongoing use.
- Long-term storage. You may need somewhere to store your yacht for the winter, or for other long periods of time.
- Equipment and accessories. You’ll want to outfit your yacht with everything you need to relax and enjoy it.
- Education and licensing. You’ll also want to invest in your own education and licensing, so you can operate the yacht competently (and legally).
Buy a Used Yacht
Many aspiring yacht owners dream of buying a new vessel, but it’s often much more affordable to buy a used yacht. Yachts and other boats tend to depreciate quickly—at least initially. A new vessel might plunge in value within the first year of ownership, resulting in a significant price decrease despite no real loss in functionality. In other words, you’ll be capable of buying a like-new vessel for a fraction of what you’d spend on a vessel that’s actually new.
There’s only one caveat here; you have to understand what you’re buying. Not all used yachts are “like new,” and some may be in need of serious repairs. Be sure to inspect the vessel thoroughly before you finalize the deal.
Shop Around When You Can
Don’t dock at the first place you find, or go with the first storage option you happen to stumble upon. Instead, try to shop around. Chances are, there are many competing service providers in your area, and some of them will offer much lower prices than others. You could end up saving hundreds, or even thousands of dollars per year this way.
Do Your Own Maintenance
One of the most significant costs of owning a yacht is ongoing maintenance. If you want your vessel to stay in good condition, you’ll need to change the fluids, inspect the engine, clean the interior and exterior, and make small repairs whenever necessary. Paying for all these services can get expensive, especially if you’re dealing with them many times per year.
However, you can save a lot of money by learning how to conduct this maintenance on your own. It may take some time to familiarize yourself with the functionality of your yacht’s engine and inner workings, but once you have a grasp on the fundamentals, you’ll find it easy to perform your own maintenance.
This can save you money, but it’s also a great way to stay in tune with your vessel. You’ll be able to catch problems earlier, preventing catastrophic failures, and you may find you genuinely enjoy the experience.
Charter the Yacht
You can also subsidize the costs of yacht management with the help of chartering. Chartering essentially allows you rent a yacht to people who want to travel to various islands or other destinations.
While chartering, you won’t have access to the yacht, but you’ll collect a fee that can help you offset the other costs of boat ownership. Plus, you can choose how long and how often to charter your yacht, so it’s always available when you want it most.
Yacht Shares and Splitting Costs
If you have other people interested in buying or owning a yacht, you may be able to sell “yacht shares,” or otherwise split the cost of ownership. For example, if you have a group of 5 friends who all want equal access to the yacht, you can each pay for 20 percent of the ownership and upkeep costs. It’s one of the simplest strategies in this guide, but you may not like the idea of sharing ownership with other people.
With these strategies in place, a yacht can instantly become more affordable. You’ll pay less upfront for your chosen vessel, and the monthly management costs of yacht ownership will either shrink or become offset. Budget and plan carefully before making any major purchasing decision—especially one as major as a yacht.